Church Planting Prospectus. A new Gospel-movement in Downtown Fresno, California. Revised July, 2017.

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1 Church Planting Prospectus A new Gospel-movement in Downtown Fresno, California. Revised July, 2017.

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Why Plant? About Philosophy Leadership Strategy Help Beliefs

3 Why About Plant? Downtown Fresno Though there are a number of churches that exist within the Downtown Fresno area, we believe that a new church plant is necessary for the following reasons: The Downtown Fresno area needs Gospel-centered churches and expositional preaching and teaching that is in accordance with sound doctrine. On average, the Fresno climate of churches tends to recycle disciples, rather than make new disciples. A new church provides an opportunity to make disciples of unbelievers. New churches are more consistent at seeing unbelievers come to Christ. 1 As the Downtown climate changes, and revitalization efforts continue, the Downtown Fresno area is beginning to diversify more than ever. With new technology initiatives, art and cultural events, and a flock of something s relocating downtown, the area is ripened for a new Gospel-centered church to thrive through embracing and engaging its diversity for the sake of Gospel-reconciliation to God and to one another. We intentionally seek to be a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, multi-socioeconomic, transcultural church. A new church plant aligns with the pattern followed within the New Testament. Paul strategically aimed to plant churches within an area of influence, so as to see Gospel influence flow outwardly, thus multiplying the process of planting churches and making disciples. Downtown is that sphere of influence, and is the heartbeat of the city of Fresno. There are not enough churches actively reaching unbelievers and making disciples within the Downtown area in order to meet the holistic (physical, mental, social, spiritual) needs of a growing population. To plant a new church, and this is the primary reason for planting a church, is to be faithful to the Great Commission of Christ, by making disciples of all people. (Matt. 28:16-20) 1 Ed Stetzer, Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2003), 6.

4 About Downtown Fresno Downtown Fresno is the heart of our beautiful city. There is increasing demand to live, work, and play within the Downtown Fresno area. In fact, it is estimated that 30-40% of households in metro areas want to live in walkable, urban areas. With a growing community of over 7,000 residents (and immediately surrounded by thousands more), more and more attractive housing options are becoming available all the time. The Downtown workforce is filled with opportunities in areas of healthcare and government, and with the technology initiatives of BitWise Industries, Downtown Fresno is quickly becoming the technological hub of the Central Valley. This creates ample opportunities to embrace the beauty of diversity, engage the culture with the Gospel, and fulfill the Great Commission. And then there is poverty, homelessness, and crime. But God has called us to proclaim liberty to the captives, and, like Jesus, love people right where they are. Downtown Fresno, in part, is a dark place. But what better places to witness the power of God move? What better places to realize the darkness of our own hearts and our own equal need for Jesus? The Downtown Fresno population is made-up of a beautifully diverse people. Black, Latino, White, and Asian peoples are the predominant makeup of the population, with the majority being Latino. Though potential language barriers exist within the Latino community, we believe that God will provide a means to cultivate an inclusive community with our Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters, as witnessed in other church contexts around the United States. With all that is happening in Downtown Fresno, there is an ever-growing need for a Gospel-centered, biblically saturated church, which embraces the beauty of ethnic and cultural diversity, while striving for oneness in Christ. NOTE: Research copied and cited from Fresno Downtown Partnership (

5 About Downtown New City Church Fresno The first question that we are typically asked, as a new church plant, is: why the name New City? As we look around at what s happening in Downtown Fresno, we see new roads, and new buildings, and new businesses, and new residencies. There is this sense of newness and refreshing happening at the heart of our great city. But at the core of this yearning for a new city of Fresno, there is ultimately an underlying yearning that is shared across all creation. A groaning for the return of Jesus Christ, and to experience the fullness of the Kingdom of God. In Revelation 21, Jesus Christ reveals to John the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. This is the New City promised to those who put their faith and their hope in Jesus Christ. God s New City will be full of believers from every tribe, tongue, and nation. It will be a place where God will finally and fully be our God, and we will be His people, and He will dwell with us. A place where sin and suffering will be no more. This is our ultimate and future hope. To live in this New City with God, and with one another, for eternity. But for now, we live within a city that is still sinful and that is still suffering. The church is called to be a city on a hill, to be a beacon of light amidst the darkness of our city. To reach the drug dealer and the district attorney alike. So then, our hope with New City is not only the future, but also in the here and now. The hope for New City Church is that we will be a people that fuels a Gospel-movement in the heart of Downtown Fresno that helps our city flourish for the glory of God, and for the joy and the benefit of all people, believer and unbeliever alike (Jer. 29:1-7). For this is the very heart of God, and the mission to which we ve been given (Matt. 28:18-20).

6 Philosophy of of the Church (Cont d.) OUR VISION Seeing Fresno flourish for the glory of God and the joy of all people through a holistic Gospel movement. OUR MISSION We will engage the world around us, apply the teachings of Jesus, embrace the people God sends us, and multiply our efforts and influence. Engage Apply Embrace - Multiply OUR CORE CONVICTIONS Our church s vision and mission is built upon the foundation of the following core convictions: Biblically-driven, Gospelcentered, Ethnically-reconciled, Community-focused, Missionally-engaged, Culturally-relevant, Indigenously-led.

7 Philosophy of the Church (Cont d.) Biblically-Driven (God s Word) The Bible is God s inerrant, inspired, and authoritative Word, given to us so that we d have a sufficient guide for all things pertaining to life (2 Peter 1:3-4). Through it, God speaks truth, saturated by grace, in order to encourage us, to teach us, to reprove us, to correct us, and to equip us for the life that He has called us to live (2 Tim. 3:16). Gospel-Centered (God s Gospel) The Gospel is the good news about the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, for all people who believe (Rom. 1:16-17). Believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ is our pathway into an eternal relationship with God and one another and is a necessary requisite for membership into the body of Christ. It is our contention that many churches only grasp a certain aspect or implication of the Gospel, and therefore centers their ministry on only a partial-gospel. This results in unhealthy churches, distorted preaching and teaching, and ultimately, spiritually finicky followers of Christ. The whole Gospel is seen through Scripture, and the life of the church, in the following three aspects: God s Kingdom God s Cross God s Grace God s Kingdom is life with God under the rule of God. (Daniel 4:3, Mark 1:15, Galatians 4:4-5, Romans 14:17) God s Cross represents the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Isaiah 53:4, 1 Cor. 15:3-4, 1 Peter 3:18) God s Grace is his outrageous acceptance of us not because we have earned or deserved it but because He gives it freely at Christ s expense. (Acts 20:24, Hebrews 10:10, Ephesians 2:8-9)

8 Philosophy of the Church (Cont d.) Ethnically-Reconciled (God s Reconciliation) Before the fall, mankind existed in perfect relational unity with God and one another. Yet through the entrance and inheritance of sin, we ve become relationally divisive and pitted against each other. God s remedy for the divide of mankind is the Gospel. Through the person and work of Jesus Christ, not only have we been reconciled to God, but now we ve been reconciled to one another. God s redeeming, restoring, and reconciling work is both vertical and horizontal. As God s people, we are called to walk in light of the reality of reconciliation (Eph. 2:11-22, Acts 20:28). Community-Focused (God s People) We do not go to church, we are the church, and so as the church we believe that what we do flows out of who we are as God intends for us. As the church, we are: 1. Worshipers who see every aspect of life as an opportunity to worship God. (Rom. 12:1, Josh. 24:14) 2. Servants who have been called, created, and saved to serve God and others. (Philippians 2:3-4, Mark 10:45, Rom. 12:6-8) 3. Disciples who are life-long students of Jesus creatively seeking to live like Jesus through the Word and prayer. (2 Cor. 3:17-18, Rom. 12:2, 1 John 3:2) 4. Families who are children of God, part of the family of God, seeking and desiring to live in covenant community with one another. (John 15:12-17, Rom. 12:9-13, John 1:12-13) 5. Witnesses who have experienced and been sent to proclaim God s Gospel. (John 17:18-19, Matt. 28:18-20, Acts 1:8) As a practical outworking of all of these things, our church is gathered once a week, to worship together, and is scattered throughout the week, doing life together in smaller neighborhood groups all throughout Downtown Fresno.

9 Philosophy of the Church (Cont d.) Missionally-Engaged (God s Mission) We believe that the Gospel affects everything (Habakkuk 2:14). When we receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we also receive the mission of Jesus Christ. Therefore the Gospel transforms our world that we inhabit in the following five dimensions: 1. Location: Where we live in our homes, neighborhoods, and local campuses. 2. Vocation: Where we work, our career, and our finances. 3. Restoration: Where there s brokenness, need, and injustice. 4. Recreation: Where we rest and enjoy life through play, leisure, and creativity. 5. Multiplication: Where we grow, expand, and how we steward. Culturally-Relevant (God s Creative Expression) Culture, in its purest form, is the expression of God s diverse beauty on display. But, like all things, there are certain aspects of culture that we must either reject or seek to redeem as result of the effects of sin. We believe that being culturally relevant is necessary in order to effectively advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Being culturally-relevant means to be willing to set aside cultural idols and preferences (1 Cor. 9:19-27) in order to reach others for God s glory. Being culturally-relevant means that we celebrate, in unity, the beauty of cultural diversity and have a sense of the time which guides our evangelism and discipleship (1 Chron. 12:32). When it comes to cultural models, we prefer the term trans-cultural over multi-cultural, with trans-culturalism being defined as: Every human being is endued with the imago Dei, the image of God, captured in unique cultural and ethnic expressions which embody the full breadth of God s creative genius, not to be subverted by ethnic/cultural identity and preferences of another, but celebrated in creating a fuller expression of our humanity, a woven tapestry of color, culture, and class as God forms a people for Himself from all people. 2 2 Leonce Crump, Renovate: Changing Who You Are by Loving Where You Are (Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah), 113.

10 Philosophy of the Church (Cont d.) Indigenously-Led (God s Leaders) Our hope is to raise up leaders from within the community of believers, rather than hire outside of our own communities (Luke 10:2, 2 Tim. 2:2). Raising up indigenous leaders requires an intentional approach to leadership development, which includes the following: 1. Identify: Intentionally seek out, observe, and identify potential leaders from within the community. 2. Invest: Spend a significant amount of time investing in the development of potential leaders within the community. 3. Ignite: Empower and release competent and equipped leaders to serve the local church, as well as go back in to the community to disciple others, and shepherd and plant more churches.

11 Leadership TROY MCCOMAS, CHURCH PLANTER/LEAD PASTOR Troy McComas is a 35-year old follower of Christ, a husband, and a father of eight. Having not grown up in the church, Troy enters in to pastoral ministry with a fresh set of eyes and a great deal of life experiences that help him to reach everyone from the drug addict hanging out by the Poverello House, to the web developer addicted to porn. Troy s pursuit in life is to make disciples, with the conviction that planting new churches is the most biblically faithful means to do so. His passion to plant a church in the Downtown Fresno area stems not only from his personal experiences Downtown, prior to conversion, but also in his deep desire to see God glorified and His Church built up from within the heart of the city. Troy is currently doing a church planting residency at his home church, The Well Community Church, after earning his B.S. in Biblical & Theological Studies from Liberty University, and is also enrolled in an Advanced Master of Divinity program at Southern Seminary.

12 Leadership (MAYBE YOU?!)

13 Strategy Our initial strategy will be to establish weekly community groups throughout the area, coupled with intentional prayer, evangelism, discipleship, and team/partnership building within the Downtown Fresno area, eventually incorporating our Sunday gathering once our growth goal is reached. PHASE I Prepare (July 2016) Host Vision Gatherings Fundraising for leadership Recruit launch team Church branding Equip leaders and launch community groups Survey and study surrounding community, building relationships along the way Build strategic relationships with neighboring churches, businesses, school systems, and government agencies Intentional evangelism and discipleship within the community Goal: Establish and equip strong and skillful launch team of 3-4 indigenous families of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, giving relationships, prayer partners, and launch at least three community groups. PHASE II Pre-Launch (September 2017) Continue to grow launch team Develop assimilation strategy Identify/equip community group leaders Establish New City Refuge Homes Multiply community groups Continue fundraising for leadership Have community group leaders identify potential leaders-intraining, for the purposes of multiplication Locate venue for weekly gathering Continue to evangelize and disciple within the community and be intentional in building community relationships Goal: Once 3-5 active community groups are established, with more than 50 committed members, church begins gathering weekly. (At this point church planter and leadership team may still be either lay-leaders/ bi-vocational).

14 Strategy PHASE III Proceed to Launch (October 2017) Continue gathering weekly, under the preaching of the Word and the administration of the sacraments Continue multiplying community groups and building up potential community group leaders Continue to be intentional in evangelizing, discipling, and building relationships within the community Hard launch Continue to fundraise for leadership Goal: Fully supported leadership, member retention at 100+ members, and potentially hire paid/lay staff for other key roles. PHASE IV Progress & Mature (Year 3-5) Establish a formal leadership development curriculum Establish a church planting internship program with goals to begin birthing more church plants Achieve financial independence Empower and release gifted members into the city Partner with seminaries to provide theological training Multiple New City Refuge Homes within the Four- Points Goal: Become a self-sustaining, equipping and sending church.

15 How You Can Help PRAY We need prayer, simple and plain. God listens to us when we pray, and gives to those who ask of Him. What we are asking you to partner with us in praying for is the very heart of God Himself: to make Him known in our city, through planting a church in the Downtown Fresno area. Here are some of the ways in which you can pray with us: A faithful, God-fearing, launch team that is committed to the vision of New City Faithfulness and fruitfulness in our evangelism and discipleship efforts Peace and joy for our city, for all people, regardless of whether or not they are believers Potential venue for our Sunday gatherings Financial support Healthy relationships and partnerships with our neighbors, local businesses, and other churches Will you commit to pray with us, that God would bless our efforts, and empower our ways so that the life-transforming power of the Gospel will prevail in Downtown Fresno? PARTNER Feeling called to partner or serve alongside a local church plant? PROVIDE As church plant that s committed to our city, our needs vary from property needs for our refuge homes, to salaries for our key leadership. Pray about it, and see if the Lord is leading you to give. For more information,

16 Doctrine & Beliefs New City Church is a non-denominational church that affirms the historic Apostle s Creed, along with other doctrinal distinctives. You may review our Doctrinal Statement & Distinctives for further clarity.

17 MORE QUESTIONS? Contact us at

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